It can sometimes be difficult to judge what is appropriate and what is inappropriate within the workplace. Also, what may seem inappropriate to one may not be the response of all. It’s important to have standard policies and practices in place to ensure fairness and consistency for all employees in the workplace. As an employer, it is your responsibility to understand and establish a culture that is free of harassment, bullying, and dirty deeds. If you do not properly address, these dirty deeds won’t be cheap!
These actions may be innocent enough and trendy, but when employer fails to address it can lead to turnover or even legal battles. Look out for the below,
• Referring to another employee as a “work husband” or “work wife”
• Repeatedly inviting someone out for drinks, whether they are the same or opposite sex
• Use of pet names, such as, “bae” or “boo”
• Showing a “hilarious” meme to a co-worker
• Asking why someone has followed you on social media
• Oversharing personal information
• Throwing someone under the bus and even taking credit for someone else’s idea
• Expecting another employee to cover for you
• Ignoring someone in group settings or meetings
I know, I know! We all want to have fun at work. Work is stressful enough without having to think about every little thing you say. But, down the road an employee may become unhappy and the “fun” times could be the basis of a harassment or discrimination charge.
The Wrap Up & Advice
Many situations seem to fall into “grey areas”, especially if you are trying to do it alone. Having an HR expert at your side can take away with frustration and complications that can go along with handling these situations on a case-by-case basis.
• Update your Employee Handbook, review it in detail with all employees, and be sure it is signed
• Focus on open communication and double check that all employees know how to report a concern or compliant
• Professional Conduct & Harassment Free Workplace training should be conducted for all employees on an annual basis
Have a situation on your hands? Need an HR clean-up? Remember Willis HR solves your people problems!